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If you are facing shoplifting charges, call Conoscienti and Ledbetter today to schedule a consultation with our Atlanta shoplifting lawyer. We can help you.
Author: J. Blake Ledbetter, Partner, Conoscienti & Ledbetter
Mr. Ledbetter specializes in civil litigation in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, and possesses vast experience in wrongful death lawsuits. Mr. Ledbetter was recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star in 2018 and 2019 in the area of Civil Litigation. Published on October 10, 2023.
Shoplifting is one of the most commonly committed theft crimes in Atlanta. It involves stealing, concealing, or taking items outside a retail store without consent. This can be jewelry from a department store or medicine from a pharmacy. Shoplifting may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the stolen item’s value.
Were you arrested for shoplifting in Georgia? You may be in danger of a criminal conviction. It is crucial that you consult a shoplifting attorney as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys at Conoscienti and Ledbetter understand the seriousness of shoplifting charges and the potential impact they can have on your life. We can assess the specific circumstances of your case, evaluate the evidence against you, and develop a strategic defense to help you avoid a criminal conviction.
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Georgia courts take shoplifting charges seriously. Your penalties will depend on the quantity and value of the stolen goods and whether you have prior shoplifting convictions. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor offense if the value of stolen goods is $500 or less. Shoplifting is a felony offense in the following circumstances:
The value of the stolen item is above $500
You stole items from three different stores in the same county within seven days, and their value exceeds $500
The items were taken during a 180 days period, and their total value exceeds $500
It is your fourth or subsequent conviction for shoplifting
Felony shoplifting is punishable by imprisonment between one and ten years. A second misdemeanor or felony conviction will result in a fine of at least $500 that’s not be subject to suspension or probation. A third conviction will result in a mandatory thirty-day jail time.
The judge may also order your 120-day confinement to house arrest, probation boot camp, or another correctional facility. In addition to the confinement, they may request that you undergo psychological evaluation. You will be responsible for paying for the treatment and cannot suspend or defer it.
Georgia law permits property owners to bring a civil claim against the defendant. Therefore, the retail store can file a claim against you to recover compensatory damages for their loss. The court may also award punitive damages to deter you and others from shoplifting. Where the court orders restitution and you fail to pay, you may incur additional fines.
Shoplifting is often considered a crime of moral turpitude. If you are an immigrant, you can face severe immigration consequences. This may include deportation or a permanent bar from the United States. If you have a green card, it may be revoked by immigration authorities.
Further, a shoplifting conviction may result in a permanent criminal history. This can make it difficult to get a job or secure good housing. Most employers and landlords frown at prospective employees or tenants with criminal records. A criminal record can affect your chances of getting a professional license. It may also result in high insurance premiums.
Hiring experienced criminal lawyers can give you a better opportunity to avoid a conviction for misdemeanor or felony shoplifting. If you are a first-time offender, we may be able to negotiate a pre-trial diversion program with the prosecution. Upon completion of the program, the court will dismiss your criminal charges.
Don’t delay. Schedule a risk-free consultation today.
There are several defenses that may be available depending on your case. Some common defenses to shoplifting charges include:
Innocence/alibi: The police may have arrested you due to false witness testimony. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you shoplifted. An alibi that places you at a different location during the time of the offense may prove your innocence.
Lack of intention: You cannot be convicted of shoplifting if the prosecution cannot prove criminal intent. You may have mistakenly taken items from a store, believing you had paid for them.
How Can a Shoplifting Attorney Help?
When you hire our criminal defense lawyers, we can take several actions to fight your charges. Some legal services we can provide include:
Creating a defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction
Collecting evidence (e.g., witness statements and surveillance footage)
Educating you about shoplifting laws and Atlanta court processes
Enrolling you in a pre-trial diversion program
Informing you about the potential consequences of your charges
Investigating the arrest for violations of your rights
Negotiating with the prosecution to minimize or dismiss your charges
Providing you with legal guidance on your shoplifting case
Representing you in court
Shoplifting is a serious crime that can impact your future. You should not fight your shoplifting charges on your own. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to protect your interests is to your advantage.
At Conoscienti and Ledbetter, we know how devastating criminal charges can be. We can aggressively challenge your case and present evidence that serves your interests. Our attorneys have experience handling several shoplifting cases. We will work with you throughout your case and represent you at trial.
If you or a loved one were arrested for shoplifting, do not put yourself at risk of a criminal conviction. Contact our law office today.